“Helvetica was a real step from the 19th century typeface… We were impressed by that because it was more neutral, and neutralism was a word that we loved. It should be neutral. It shouldn’t have a meaning in itself. The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface.”
-Wim Crouwel, Graphic Designer
Considered to be the fascist font by some designers, while others consider it to be the revolution of getting the message across to the audience. Helvetica, is a very clean and crisp font. Rather than creating an identity for the text, the context is able to speak clearly. Helvetica is everywhere, it’s “like air, you have to breathe. If you don’t use it, you’re considered an idiot.” The typeface is in our city, on our stores, our transportation, our advertisements, on our user interface, our iPhone text messages. This typeface has become so accepted, in fact celebrated, in our society, to use another typeface would almost seem blasphemous.
You can see it in your public bathrooms, on your coffee mugs, on your neighborhood garbage trucks. It doesn’t stop. Some consider it as over used as Comic Sans, or as ugly as Papyrus. The vast majority accept it as a corporate identity. Since its development in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann, it has dominated the typography world, and even been claimed as number one on FontShop Germany’s list “Best Fonts of All Time”. This itself is quite the feat for the typeface family.
It’s loved as a clean, and not being able to stand out, type of font. It gives a security feeling to the context. Helvetica made it’s modern break through after the grunge period of the 90’s. Typography was so broken after this few year term, designers and typographers had to go back to the old ways of type, to properly communicate.
I see Helvetica as a very clean and professional font. Maybe that’s because I use it everyday in my class notes, my text messages, my guide to tell me where things are in my city, my fashion conscious as to what clothing I should buy, and what I should eat. My society and culture has engraved it into my visual sense so much that it’s second nature. I appreciate this typeface, but at the same time I respect it.
From what little I know, and what more I continue to learn about the roots and the history of typography, as big of a subject as it is, I will not, and refuse to let something die for me out of misuse. I would like for anything to live with me through moderation. Everyone and everything uses this font, and I will not follow the masses. There are other typefaces that can be used in design to communicate effectively. Helvetica is the cleaner, and “dumbed down” form of type that can be understood by the vast majority of today. A revolution will happen with type. This is only the plateau.
It’s bold, clean, and easily recognizable as a legible font. In design, such as advertisements, Helvetica is so blunt, that it gets the message across. “Drink Coke. It’s Coke.” It smacks you in the face, just what the corporate company wants. There is no beating around the bush with Helvetica. Helvetica runs our society by telling us little tiny messages so that we may function properly as a citizen. Without Helvetica, it is guaranteed that our culture will go awry without proper and clear communication of our society’s messages. After 50 years of use, it has proven to be timeless. In time, a new font will be used just as much.
Rana, Sunalini. “All About Helvetica Font.” Everything About Helvetica Font. SloDive, 2011. Web. 04 Sept. 2012. <http://slodive.com/web-development/helvetica-font/>.